Yeah, I was glad to get at least some credit from them for the damsels. We've spent a lot
of money at their store since we first discovered it, so it's the least they could do.
I noticed when I got the chromis home that one of them had what appeared to be a large circular sore or wound on its side. At the time we weren't up to getting back in the car and making the hour long round trip again for a $5.00 fish, so I put it in the quarantine tank with the others and hoped it would heal up. I found it dead the next morning.
Anyhow, on the nitrate front, I went ahead and tested my water parameters again this morning, expecting to find my nitrates at less than the 10 ppm they were at when I tested the water before removing the bio balls from the wet/dry two weeks ago
. I was under the impression that, especially without any fish in the tank producing waste, the bacteria in the live rock that is said to convert nitrates to nitrogen gas would have reduced the nitrates by some degree.
However, I found that the nitrates have definitely increased
over the last two weeks and are now closer to 15 - 20 ppm.
More concerning, though, is that the water tested positive for ammonia for the first time in years at .25 ppm.
I attribute the presence of ammonia to the lack of bio balls and resultant lack of aerobic bacteria. I was under the impression that bacteria in the 40 lbs of live rock in the tank would handle the ammonia in the bio balls' absence, though. I was especially surprised to find ammonia since there haven't been any fish in the tank since 8/7/10, more than a month now, and there wasn't ammonia at that time. I was similarly surprised to find that the nitrates had increased.
Since removing the bio balls, I have not added any additional rock or made any other changes except adding 2 peppermint shrimp. Does anyone have any idea why my nitrates have increased despite the removal of the bio balls and why I suddenly have ammonia despite the presence of 40 pounds of cured live rock and no fish producing waste? I am concerned that I may have made a mistake by removing the bio balls after all.
It looks like I'll be doing a water change when I get home from work since I don't want the crabs and peppermint shrimp in the tank to die, though that will make the ultimate impact of removing the bio balls more difficult to determine.